Glen Inkster wins Targa NZ Ardmore opener
Reigning Targa New Zealand champion Glenn Inkster has once again topped the podium, winning the Metalman Targa NZ Rally Sprint event in Ardmore.
Driving his Ecolight Mitsubishi Evo 8 with co-driver Spencer Winn, Inkster had a "perfect day" - a sweep of the two forthcoming Targa events is on the Auckand rally driver's mind.
"We're not racing for sheep-stations today so it doesn't matter immensely, but you still like to win!"
"We've won the Targa series twice now and we won our first major Targa [...] in the South Island last year. Targa NZ has three events in the year, and nobody has actually won all three. Winning all three is what we want to do," Inkster told Driven.
Completing the eight stage event in a time of 00:30:29, Inkster heaped praise on both his co-driver and his Evo.
"Spencer [Winn] only did pace notes for the second or third time ever today, and he did really well."
Targa Operations manager Gary Upson, Spencer Winn, Glenn Inkster, and Hunua MP Andrew Bayly. Photo / Matthew Hansen, Velocity NZ
"Our car is such a good car.
It means that any event we go to we should be challenging [for results]. We've got the tool, we've just got to make sure we use it properly. The problem [with cars like the GTR] is their weight, and in Targa you have a 200kph speed limit. So our car, even though it has got a lot of 'fruity bits', is a lot less technical than a GTR. [...] We've got something that just works," said Inkster.
Leigh Hopper and Simon Kirkpatrick's wild Subaru Impreza came home second 26 seconds adrift of Inkster, with Clark Proctor's unique Ford Escort finishing third overall. Proctor also took home top honours in the Modern 2WD class, Eddie Grooten in his 1978 Porsche 911 SC taking the win in the Classic 2WD class.
While Inkster labelled his day "perfect", several other entries had incidents.
One of those drivers was 'Racing' Ray Williams. Driving a borrowed BMW 3 series, Williams was lucky to escape with only minor damage after narrowly avoiding another stranded BMW.
"[The other driver was] in the paddock waving his hands to get our attention. and I didn't look at him because I've told everyone 'you've got to look where you want to go, where you look is where the car will go'. But, my co-driver kepy yelling at me "What's he saying! What's he saying!" so I look back to see - and that's all it takes, that little bit of looking off the road and the car touched the grass so we slid down off the road.
" I backed up onto the road and carried on. But as I reversed back the front of the car hooked on to the fence and tore off the bumper!"
The second Targa NZ event is Targa Bambina, a three day event going from the 14th to the 17th of May before the final event of the year in October.